(4th post in the series based on our primary research of 126 B2B marketing and sales professionals – 2011 State of Content Marketing. In the previous post, we focused on the types of content that work best in lead generation.)
Content marketing has become a central tactic in the modern B2B marketers’ toolkit for generating demand. In our 2011 State of Content Marketing Survey, nearly 90% of respondents reported that 20% or more of their marketing budget was devoted to producing content. Of those surveyed, 15% devote 50+% percent of their entire marketing budget to the production of marketing content. That adds up to a lot of money being funneled towards the creation of content.
Given that effective content is the lifeblood of any impactful marketing campaign, the time to create this type of content greatly outweighs the cost to produce it as the greatest barrier for marketers. Only 16.7% of respondents listed cost as a major challenge to creating high-impact marketing content.
According to the B2B Trends, the most effective marketers set aside at least 30% of their budget for content marketing. With this in mind, we can explore how companies currently delegate responsibility for content creation and allocate those dollars set aside to drive at strategic plans for content marketing.
Evaluating content marketing spending, we must also factor a more ephemeral cost: the time it takes to create compelling marketing content. In many cases, employee hours can be harder to come by than marketing dollars and become increasingly more expensive as marketers become more skilled and experienced. The “time is money” adage is especially pointed when we look at some of the most well-regarded types of content: business / thought leadership whitepapers at 47.9% and case studies at 44.4% which cannot be produced by the inexperienced (read cheaper) marketing staff. Time was the biggest challenge cited to creating content at over 42% around 30% more than attributed the greatest challenge to finding marketing content budget.
How Splunk Created a Lot of Content in a Short Timeframe:
With their business experiencing tremendous growth, Splunk’s marketing department was tasked with creating enough customer-sourced content to satisfy the insatiable demand of their salesforce – and fast. Embracing a new strategy, Splunk was able to create 102 customer case studies in 30 days with TechValidate. You can see the marketing assets they published here.
If time is such a big issue – why not outsource the production of marketing assets? 3rd party whitepapers written by industry analysts have a great reputation as well, with 81% of marketing professional rating them as effective and 24% declaring that they are the most effective type of content. The trouble is, content creation outsourced to analysts came in as the most costly type of content asset with 57.4% of those surveyed reporting that this took the greatest part of allocated budget dollars. 54% of marketing professionals agreed that customized microsites were effective content marketing assets, but these also commanded a hefty percentage of budgets at 41.7%.
How HP Created Microsites Quickly without Huge Spend:
HP was able to build 10 highly targeted, customized microsites in under 30 minutes with TechValidate. Showcasing marketing assets sourced directly from what their customers had to say about products in their portfolio, these microsites have now been leveraged as highly effective content offers in HP global campaigns and lead generation programs. See their microsite on the HP Load Runner here.
Content marketing has earned its place in B2B marketing budgets, a development that appears to be accelerating with positive macroeconomic forces and increased confidence in ROI of content marketing tactics. 80% of marketers reported that they would spend more in 2011 than in year’s past according to the results of our 2011 State of Content Marketing survey with half of those people declaring that they would raise the budget by 20% or more.
In a perfect world, marketers would be able to devote unlimited time and resources towards creating compelling, effective marketing content. In reality, some creativity and experimentation is required to find the optimal balance that mixes in-house and outsourced content creation while balancing the demands on the time of B2B marketers. Ultimately, like all marketing spend, content marketing must prove its ROI continually to maintain its position as a favorite tactic of today’s B2B marketers.